I didn’t know who Ben Weaver was before this video, but I’m glad I watched it! Check out his music at his web shop.
Austin has a certain gravity. It attracts cyclists of all wheel types and for Matt, he wasn’t drawn here for the road cycling, or mountain biking. Matt began his experience with the bicycle on a BMX. He’s from Australia and Austin has always been the mecca for BMXing in the US. His friends here range from pros to companies like T-1, where he stays while in town.
It wasn’t until a surf trip in Mexico a while back where he finally got a bicycle. If you’d call it that. A clapped-out rig took him for hundreds of miles to visit a friend before he finally realized what he wanted in a bike. Later, a custom Bilenky allowed him to tow his surfboard on trips and the touring hook was set.
Fast forward a few years and Matt wanted to do something on his own. Since he’s not a framebuilder, he met up with a friend who’s dad was. They began talking about cycling and what it meant to Matt before drafting up a CAD drawing and getting a few prototypes made overseas. Crust Bikes was born. Sort of. Still incubating, this company right now spreads the stoke over Instagram, where Matt shares his travels and sells small items like patches, bottles and trucker caps.
Matt hopes to be building frames here in the States, under the welder of an experienced builder up in the North East. His first model would be this Evasion touring bike. Built for 26+ (Knard 3″), 650b or 700c wheels, the Evasion has the clearance and the confidence for everything from a sub 24 hour camping trip to full on excursion style riding.
I caught up with Matt last week and shot some photos of this unique rig. Built with a Rohloff, it’s virtually maintenance free. The Swift Industries bags, Brooks Saddle and other companents tell a tale through their patina. One that you too can follow along at @AFewSketchyMoments and @Crustbikes on Instagram
Before I begin to tell you about my trip along the White Rim Trail, I’d like talk about the rising popularity of bike packing and other two-wheeled exploration. With the current events surrounding “The Death of The Oregon Outback” I feel the responsibility to say a little something about wilderness etiquette. It might seem like common sense, but we have an ever-growing responsibility to this earth and the wild places we’d like to keep wild. Be it car camping, back packing, or bike packing – please always clean up after yourself and even the visitors who came before you. Do not leave campsites as you found them, leave them cleaner! I’d also suggest taking the same approach on rides as well. Take care of your own trash, but go a step farther and pick up everything you see. And always stay on designated roads and trails. Fragile ecosystems don’t need you making things any harder.
When Golden Saddle Cyclery first opened one of our customers told me about a 100 mile bike ride in the Island In The Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park. I had just been in the park a week before, but without a bike so I was especially interested in hearing about the ride. As a big fan of the area, and the desert in general, I returned for a handful of visits before finally bringing along a bike this past March. And let me tell you, it wasn’t until riding the White Rim Trail that I felt like I had really experienced this magnificent place.
I know a lot of you live in LA but have you camped up on Mt Lowe? Now’s your chance…
The ride to historic Mt Lowe is no cakewalk(About 5,000 feet elevation gain), there will be two routes(one paved/one dirty) heading up to camp. This is BYOEverything!!! Pack food and water for the ride and night! It’s going to be a scorcher!!!
If you have any questions about this Saturday please call the shop and ask for David or Kyle.”
You should definitely do this!
There’s nothing like taking a brand new bike and throwing it into the proverbial fire.
Bikes like this are not meant to be babied, nurtured, wiped down with a micro-fiber cloth and sprayed with chemicals to make them look shiny. They’re meant to be abused, smashed, shredded and put to the test, straight out of the gate. Especially bikes specifically designed for arguably one of the most intense endurance races in the Continental United States.
The Salsa Cutthroat is what I would call a first for the company. In the sense that it’s a bike designed for a specific event: the Tour Divide Race.
I have friends who have done this route on motos and when I asked them if they ever saw cyclists en route to Patagonia, their reaction was always along the lines of: “YES! It looked so miserable.” Understandably so with the endless dirt roads, heat, dust and lack of water. It’s strange how something that truly is miserable in the type 4 fun kinda way, could be so beautiful and life-altering. Why is that?
“The routine is the enemy… of time.”
Stories. We all have to have stories to coincide with photos right? Nowadays, someone has to get lost, or their life threatened, or lose a battle to nature’s mood swings. Catastrophe, calamity and someone’s a casualty of what everyone seems to be dubbing “adventure.”
Truth is, a bike ride is hardly ever an “adventure.” Much less a bike launch. I don’t like that word: “adventure.” It tends to envelop so much of our day-to-day lives, especially those of us who spend a great deal of time outdoors. Was it an adventure? No, it was a hike. Or we went swimming. Or we got lost for an hour. “Adventure.” It’s been watered down, branded, packaged and delivered to us in a freeze-dried, waterproof pouch. We share our curated lives exposed through meticulously VSCO’d / Photoshopped vignettes on Instagram.
While this may seem cynical, I can assure you it’s far from that. It’s more of an explanation, or a primer if you will and here comes to the top coat: while the word adventure’s definition is subjective, the spirit of conquest is the thing that ties all facets of that word together. For some people, conquest lies in what others might deem an obtainable task. For others, it’s something so far-fetched that it’s more of an impossibility than a probability… Whatever it is, “adventure” means different things to different people, but we should all be more creative in how we define it. According to my opinion anyway.
The Blackburn Ranger Camp was a total blast this year. Bikepacking, bourbon, bb-guns and more, all of which are captured here in this video showcasing the new Rangers’ aspirations. Best of luck to all of the Rangers and I hope this video inspires you to plan a trip of your own!
Over the next few days, I’ll be rolling out coverage from what we all began to call the “Tour Divide Simulation Ride” but first, I’d like to begin with a quick gallery from the Grand Depart in Banff, Alberta.
Traditionally, the race begins in the YWCA parking lot, just across the river from the main tourist thoroughfares in Banff. This year’s turnout was the biggest yet, with around 150 people registering for the race. A quick headcount revealed around 130 at the start, with a handful of people beginning a day early or later that morning.
Still, to see a Grand Depart this size for a race like the Tour Divide was more than I expected and quite the scene. Men, women, old, young and even a canine left Banff with aspirations of finishing this grueling challenge. Over the next few weeks their mind, body, bike and soul will be put to the test…
Our trip was a bit easier but even after three days on the road, I have a new found respect for anyone willing to tackle such a feat. Best of luck to all the racers and riders still out there on the TDR.
Without getting too far ahead of myself here, I have to admit the giddiness flowing through my veins at the moment. I’m in Banff, Alberta at the start of the Tour Divide Race, arguably one of the most intense self-supported off-road races. I’m here with Salsa Cycles, and while we’re not doing the entire TDR, we are riding a three-day section of the race. Why? Because Salsa has supported racers and riders in the TDR for years and all the time and energy put into supporting athletes who train for to events like this has culminated in a bike that’s just being launched.
At this point, if you’re even reading this still and haven’t sprung right into clicking through the gallery images, I need to point out that Salsa champions the drop-bar off-road touring and racing bike. They love the hand positions, the unique stance and the options for drivetrains. That said, over the years, they’ve perfected what is arguably their best “all-road”, dirt-tourer: the Cutthroat.